“The object of a question is to obtain information that matters to us, and no one else.”
- Sean Connery as William Forrester in "Finding Forrester"

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Monday, August 29, 2005

Three Years Later

Lately, I've been thinking about travel. As I've mentioned before, I've been to 14 countries through the course of my international travels between my Semester at Sea trip and my vacation this past spring. I looked down at my taskbar and noticed that it was exactly 3 years ago today when I said my goodbyes and boarded the plane for the first leg of my circumnavigation.

I was so nervous that day. Part of it was anxiety and part of it was anticipation. I don't particualarly enjoy starting over in a new place because of how nervous I get around people I don't know, but at the same time I was excited to do something I'd never done before. I'd been outside the US before but Canada doesn't really count, especially when you consider the farthest into Canada I had been was Toronto, which is only a few hours away. And even though Canada is considered travelling internationally, because I live in such close proximity to it, it's no big deal. In a lot of ways it's like driving down to NYC. I mean, the border is usually no more of a hassle as going through a toll booth anyway.

I feel like I refer to Semester at Sea a lot. While it isn't what I measure everything else in my life against, it is a major milestone in my journey. I learned a lot on the that trip: how to have that special balance of confidence, humility, and flexibility when traveling in strange new places; how to say "this is interesting" instead of "Ewwww" when eating an unknown delicacy; how to cross the streets in Saigon without being killed by the thousands of people on bikes; that seminary wasn't really where I was meant to go; that it physically hurts to see the poverty out there first-hand; that smiles are the universal language.

Ever since that trip 3 years ago I've had the itchy feet of a traveler. I feel this constant need to go to places I've never been before. I've already begun some of the initial searches for my next big adventure for 2006. Though I have a list of locations I hope to visit by the time I'm 35 I'm thinking that Alaska may be my next destination.

There's just so much beauty in the world and yet it's so easy to get caught up in all of the negative, ugly stuff that happens.